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Meet Me in the Margins

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Savannah Cade's dreams are coming true. The Claire Donovan, editor-in-chief of the most successful romance imprint in the country, has requested to see the manuscript Savannah's been secretly writing while working as an editor herself—except at her publishing house, the philosophy is only highbrow works are worth printing and commercial fiction, particularly romance, should be reserved for the lowest level of Dante's inferno. But when Savannah drops her manuscript during a staff meeting and nearly exposes herself to the whole company—including William Pennington, new publisher and son of the romance-despising CEO herself—she races to hide her manuscript in the secret turret room of the old Victorian office.

When she returns, she's dismayed to discover that someone has not only been in her hidden nook but has written notes in the margins—quite critical ones. But when Claire's own reaction turns out to be nearly identical to the scribbled remarks, and worse, Claire announces that Savannah has six weeks to resubmit before she retires, Savannah finds herself forced to seek the help of the shadowy editor after all.

As their notes back and forth start to fill up the pages, however, Savannah finds him not just becoming pivotal to her work but her life. There's no doubt about it. She's falling for her mystery editor. If she only knew who he was.

309 pages, Paperback

First published February 15, 2022

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About the author

Melissa Ferguson

10 books1,404 followers
Bestselling author Melissa Ferguson lives in Tennessee, where she enjoys chasing her children and writing romantic comedies full of humor and heart. Her favorite hobby is taking friends and acquaintances and turning them into characters in her books without their knowledge.

Connect with her (and prepare for the possibility of becoming her next character) at:

Instagram: @our_friendly_farmhouse

TikTok: @ourfriendlyfarmhouse

Website: https://melissaferguson.com/

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,087 reviews
Profile Image for Cindy ✩☽♔.
1,101 reviews804 followers
February 26, 2023
After a night’s sleep, I’ve decided to drop my rating by one star. Because 3 stars to me would mean I would still recommend it to a friend and/or spend money on this book. I just don’t feel that way here.


If ever there was a book destined to be a cheesy Hallmark movie in the worst kind of way, not all romantic comedies are created equal, this is it. Honestly, for a book that pokes fun at the clique and cheesy aspects of rom-coms, it sure doesn’t manage to escape falling into them.

That being said, I think I might've enjoyed this book much more overall if it weren't for the glaring issues I had with our protagonist's family. I do not like them. In fact, I loathe them. The fact that Savannah's sister found it acceptable to get together with Savannah's on and off again boyfriend of EIGHT YEARS, especially during a time where they were on-again, is infuriating. Though I will admit the fact that Savannah allowed that relationship to drag on that long is upsetting in and of itself. But the most outrageous thing is that her parents fully support her sister and welcome said ex back with open arms. Then after a few short months of her ex and sister dating, they get engaged and her parents sit her down to essentially tell her to get over it. Because he is going to be family, and the Cade moto is loyalty and support blah blah. Like wtf? LOYALTY!? What loyalty? YOU ALL SUCK!

I know the sibling dating an ex thing has been done before. The Hating Game is a popular example. But this was a whole different ballpark. Josh hadn't been dating his ex for years only for his brother to poach, and as far as we knew he was never in love with her. That is not the case here with Savannah's ex Ferris. She had very much been in love with him. He was all her firsts. And the parents? At least in The Hating Game, the main characters address what an awful father Josh's dad is and how blatantly he shows favoritism. Here? It gets completely glossed over. Never at any point does Savannah confront her family for this utter mistreatment. In fact, the only one who really points out what a problem it is that her family betrayed her in such a way is Will.

Speaking of Will, we did not get enough of him. I liked him and Savannah. The book would've been infinitely better if we'd gotten more of him, either in scenes with Savannah or in his own POV. The romance itself needed to be stronger for me. Toward the end of the book, Savannah made a comment about how it's always been Will. That should have felt romantic, it should have been a big moment, but it felt unearned. They have not known each other long and did not spend nearly enough time on the page developing their relationship for me to feel the impact of such a line.

Overall, it’s not a great sign when I walk away from a romance book and the thing I remember most about it is how much I hate the heroine's family. The romance and story had potential. I genuinely loved the idea of secretly falling in love with someone based on their comments and feelings about a story you poured your heart into. But the approach left me feeling detached and markedly irritated. When I read a romance I want warm fuzzy feelings, butterflies in my stomach. Or if I'm going the other direction, I want to feel distraught, heartbroken, invested in the outcome of our main characters, and hoping they resolve their issues - whether those are internal or external. Instead, I was left wishing Ferris got hit by a bus.

Special thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Books for sharing this ARC with me in exchange for my honest thoughts.
Profile Image for Darla.
3,522 reviews621 followers
December 31, 2022
This new title from Melissa Ferguson hit all the right notes for me. Savannah Cade works at a boutique publishing house. Their bailiwick is high-brow nonfic. Commercial fiction is a no-no. Savannah has been working on a romance novel under the pen name Holly Ray. On a high-stress day, she leaves her unfinished manuscript in a hideaway nook she has discovered behind the ARC room. When she returns to get her papers, there are blunt editing suggestions in the margins. Who is helping her? We know, but she doesn't. When she guesses, it is wrong and there are some comedic moments that result. Will Pennington is Savannah's new publisher and the boss's son. He seems to be open to Savannah's take on the issues within the organization. If only he were her editor. If you loved Very Sincerely Yours and To Sir, with Love, then you will want to check this one out. Especially loved the props for librarians included in the story.

A big thank you to Thomas Nelson and Edelweiss+ for a DRC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Avani ✨.
1,643 reviews342 followers
November 28, 2021
I was genuinely so excited to read this seeing the plot. But I am highly disappointed. I could not vibe with the writing style much. But the character as well as the plot felt very boring and non directional to me. Sorry but the book did not work out for me. :(
Profile Image for Blaine.
782 reviews660 followers
February 16, 2022
Update 2/15/22: Reposting my review to celebrate that today is publication day!
Beneath my question, Why are you helping me? are the words: Because I believe in this story. I believe in Cecilia. Cecilia is real. Flawed. Human and yet, still, one of a kind. You have written a story that gives readers hope that they, too, despite all their own blemishes, can and should be valued the same way. This is a story the world needs to hear.

“You know, you should write a book about that. That’s a pretty good plot twist.”
I grin and tilt my head. “Meet Me in the Margins. It has a nice ring to it.”

Does he think I’m hitting on him? Oh my gosh, am I hitting on him?
Savannah Cade’s life is a bit stuck. She’s 29, living in her younger sister’s home, and feeling forced to help that sister plan her wedding to the man who broke Savannah’s heart. Savannah works as an assistant editor at a stuffy-and-struggling publishing house in Nashville (who knew?). But she may be on the brink of her dream, as she was asked to send the manuscript of the romance novel she’s been secretly writing, Pining for You, to her favorite publisher. When the manuscript is found by a mystery person in what Savannah thought was a secret room in the office—a mystery person who, uninvited, offers some very helpful constructive criticism of her work—the two begin passing notes to each other in the margins (get it?) about the book and, soon, about themselves.

Meet Me in the Margins is a really straightforward story. The identity of the mystery person, the answer to the question of who Savannah will end up with, should surprise no one. The subplot involving Savannah’s sister Olivia and her fiancé Ferris was the best of the subplots. But several parts of the story could have been fleshed out to add more depth. I would have liked to have learned a lot more about Will’s time in New York, and why he is back in Nashville. Lyla was largely present for comic relief, but if she had learned about the manuscript and the mystery editor there could have been so many more funny conversations about it. There could have also been a little more friction if either the publisher Ms. Pennington or mean boss Giselle had gotten a little more screen time.

Meet Me in the Margins reminded me of a Hallmark Christmas movie. It was cotton candy sweet. It was squeaky, G-rated clean; there were two kisses in the entire novel (and nothing more), and I don’t think there was a single profanity. It had moments of charm and humor, especially the scenes in the country bar and the courthouse. While it was not complex, it was interesting that both the actual novel and the fictional novel within were trying to write about a couple who will have a lifetime of happiness rather than just an insta-romance that may or may not last. And the story does reflect a love of publishing, writing, and reading (and when this pandemic is well and truly over, I’ve got to start going to these conventions where they apparently just hand out ARCs like candy 😄). 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

Note: I received a complimentary copy of Meet Me in the Margins from Thomas Nelson. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Profile Image for Chantel.
392 reviews191 followers
January 5, 2023
It is important to note that the majority of the themes explored in this book deal with sensitive subject matters. My review, therefore, touches on these topics as well. Many people might find the subject matters of the book as well as those detailed in my review overwhelming. I would suggest you steer clear of both if this is the case. Please note that from this point forward I will be writing about matters which contain reflections on eating disorders, distorted body image, excessive exercising, familial neglect, & others. 

I cannot think of where to begin in describing the level of disappointment I feel toward this book. I requested access to reading an advanced copy because I am a sucker for stories that take place in the world of publishing. I adore all things books; all things that revolve around people putting in their utmost towards telling a story. I have also always acknowledged that the romance genre & all its facets are not ones which I find very much enjoyment. I really do want to love romance novels but find them to be all of the same & I don't enjoy reading about people who could very well have simply been honest & avoided complications that need not have transpired. Therefore, when I came across a story about Savannah Cade, a girl in her late twenties who works in a publishing house in Nashville, TN, I very much wanted to read about her seeking the right way to write her story. 

It is not lost on me that this book would benefit from a substantial amount of editing, similar to the edits which are recommended to Savannah in the fictional world. Grammatically speaking, the book overuses the emphasized hyphenated word sequences one might find to highlight sarcasm or the accentuation of a description. Ferguson includes these so often throughout the story I began to wonder if it was due to an inability to simply describe something as it was or if we are meant to read Savannah as a quirky, complicated, & eccentric person. Regardless, it didn't allow the novel to flow in a way that was enjoyable. I began to dread having to read a long-winded-hyphenated word sequence whenever Savannah was introducing a circumstance, such as eye contact between characters. I appreciate that this could be seen as quaint once or twice, but the number of times it is employed took away from its purpose. As well, the writing could have benefited from a second look. There was something about the way that the story progressed that stalled. This is particularly unfortunate given my enjoyment at the beginning of the story. 

Had we seen an editor do a thorough job of reviewing the approach to the story I might have accepted the absurd ending that is presented. However, I then ask myself what would an editor have done if not required the story to be changed? Savannah is a person who constantly speaks about the romance genre as though she has read every single book in existence only to make baseless claims about the characters found within these stories. She wants to write a slow-burning romance, not one in which her characters encounter instant love. She wants the 'normal' girl to be granted a chance at love; she wants to give the 'less than desirable' person a chance at seeing themselves represented in a story. But then, she does the complete opposite of that & it's absolutely mind-numbing. 

To read about Savannah wanting to write a story for the underdog while Ferguson writes a character who is very much not an underdog is bizarre. For example, we read about her having to 'squeeze' into a size-2 dress that her sister, Olivia, gives her to wear during a fund-raising event. Perhaps this is a hot take but, the fact that you can wear a size-2 piece of clothing & move around relatively freely (not ignoring the fact that many an article of clothing might appear constraining for a person of any size), is not representing the character as being mid- or plus-sized. Savannah is in fact the same person she is trying to escape. Was this meant to be presented ironically? Were we meant to read about her having a sister who borderlines on disordered eating & excessive exercising & looks at Savannah as the regular girl because she eats donuts? Just because one character is severely troubled & should be given the support they require to not feel the need to obsessively perform all tasks at the same time at a level that exceeds what is normal, does not mean that the other character is a victim who should be pitied because woe is her for not being allowed to eat donuts around her sister who very clearly requires some form of familial support. 

The entire character of Olivia is excruciatingly shallow. This character is skinny, she is fitness oriented, she has a fiancé, she has her own apartment, she is pursuing a double-major, she pursues many extracurricular activities, etc. She is the exact same character we see in all romance genre novels & it is horrifically boring. I feel a certain level of sadness for Olivia, as one person might feel towards another because she very clearly has no self-esteem. Ferris was with Savannah for eight (8) years & Olivia jumps at the chance to become engaged to this loser because they have a five (5) minute conversation while Savannah is out of the room. Where is this alleged family support that we read about so often? If the Cade family had actually given a lick about any of the members in their family, neither of the daughters would have turned out as morosely troubled as they did. 

Olivia has so much going for her. She participates & organizes social fundraising events, she wants to do good things for her community & yet she accepts love from a person who is an absolute twit because…because why? Because her family is shallow & neglectful & never gave her the time of day; they never ensured that she was properly loved. For the love of God, you have this poor girl crying to her sister about what she did wrong to lose such a terrible fiancé, only for her sister to harp on about the things wrong with Olivia rather than state that Ferris is a giant loser of a man. That's sad. It mattered 9 months ago for Savannah to tell Olivia that she didn't appreciate her sister dating her ex-boyfriend, it's worth zilch for her to stand over her sister & tell her of all the wrong she has done to lose out on that man now. 

Then, we have Savannah who is so horrendously flat that I could not stand her by the end of the story. In her quest to write about the 'normal' girl, perhaps we could have also seen a 'normal' girl who is assertive without being aggressive; someone who can speak their mind & not need to hesitate before saying something. I am so beyond done with reading about girls who have no backbone; it's inadequate, faulty & lacking. Not every girl in the world requires 20 seconds before speaking, not everyone needs to ponder before saying what they need. Can we not read about a strong-willed person who isn't a loser & who does have a healthy level of self-confidence? Is this too much to ask for? I want to highlight that at its core, what Savannah seeks to achieve makes theoretical sense; I am asking the same to be done in real life. I wager to say that no, it's not too much to ask that the character not say that they think the Phantom, of "The Phantom of the Opera" (1909) by Gaston Leroux was misunderstood because they would have actually read the book & they would have known that this character was a psychopath & not the romanticized version we see in other mediums. I will remain waiting. 

The concept of the premise wherein Will leaves editing notes for Savannah was promising. Perhaps if you are someone who has not read many books or someone who easily accepts things at face value you might not have known that Will was the 'mystery editor'. Knowing that he read a full page of the manuscript & was also a person who spent their formative years in the building, one might easily deduce that he was the editor in question. The fact that Savannah spends every waking hour never putting those two pieces together was exhausting. Therein lies my main issue with characters in romance novels; no one ever says what they mean. If Savannah spent all this time thinking that she was having encounters with Sam & that he was her editor, why not just say so? Why did we spend weeks after the fact reading about her moping around thinking that they couldn't be friends? You're an adult person, please just speak plainly. 

As well, why would Savannah assume that the mystery editor was a man? We are told that men are more up-front & short with their words, based solely on her own experiences in her workplace. That's a pretty blatant generalization to make of a stranger you do not know. As well, the simple inclusion of the editor stating their 'ex-girlfriend' wouldn't have appreciated a specific pick-up-line, doesn't lead me to assume that this was a male, it literally could have been anyone. I want to emphasize this because we are given little to no substance for any of the characters in this book. I couldn't picture any of them as being real-life human beings that I might meet in my very real life. Everyone felt ghostly in the way they wandered through the story; especially Will. 

What would lead Will to confide totally & unfoundedly to Savannah? They never experienced a moment in which Will was shown that this was someone he could trust. The publishing house was in dire straights & he came from another city to help save the business. Yet, at the first chance he is given, he assumes that everything Savannah says is the truth & wants to have her as his confidant. We don't actually know this person at all & then have to read about how easily Savannah fell in love with him. They experience almost no interactions within the story & then by the end he is giving her a three-book deal,…why? We just read an entire novel about how pitiful her original manuscript was because she has no basis for writing a romance novel; she has no idea how to create a plot, write characters of substance or even lay-out an original story. Yet, this man gives her a book deal? That's ridiculous. 

Overall, I was severely disappointed by this book. I was so excited to read it; I thought I had found the perfect story to encourage me to believe that the genre could be more than tropes, riddled with dumb lies & abstinence from the truth. Before closing off I want to highlight a couple of lovely pieces of this book that made me laugh; firstly, the intense necking scene between Savannah & Will. Who in this boisterously bouncing ball world is making out with their boss in the middle of a packed conference room? In what realm of reality was this meant to be romantic or even attractive? Why would they tongue for three (3) minutes in front of all those people?

 Secondly, if Savannah hates physical intimacy as she claims, she should not be writing books for a genre that requires the stories to include some hefty level of physical intimacy. She has to know that cooking eggs takes all of five (5) minutes & so people need to work their way up to the level of comfortable silence, companionship, etc, which she seeks to have. There needed to be a better build-up to her sloshing saliva with Will in the conference room from the scene of her saying that kissing was a royal waste of time. Where it stands, the two feel deranged. 

There needs to be some contextual editing done in this book as well. Both the intern & Savannah's mom share the same name (Moira). There is a scene in which Savannah is running through the building unable to check her watch for the time yet, has her cell phone's flashlight leading her way,…I could go on. 

I remain hopeful that I will find a romance that suits my fancy; one which is genuine & hosts an array of characters who are hopeful, sincere versions of real-life people.

Thank you to NetGalley, Thomas Nelson-Fiction & Melissa Ferguson for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jeeves Reads Romance.
1,436 reviews544 followers
January 20, 2022
The ironic thing is that most of my criticisms are literally spelled out in the book via our editor hero’s notes on the heroine’s romance novel: “Slow beginning. Get to the meat. Give readers a reason to stay. If you bore them, you lose them. Awkward word choice? Drop this paragraph. We don’t need this character. Rabbit trail, stick to the point.” That quote resonated with me, because it so accurately reflected my issues with this book. It’s a very, very slow burn that barely pays off by the end, with an underdeveloped (PG) romance that bored me when it spent time focusing on other things. There were two characters who I wish hadn’t been included, and the writing didn’t flow well. I think the concept is super cute and I loved the You’ve Got Mail vibes, but the execution just wasn’t there.

The story follows Savannah, a woman who works for a publishing company. Things haven’t been going well at her job, and the situation goes from bad to worse when the boss’s son comes to work for the company. Will is stoic and serious, a suit who barely smiles… and he caught Savannah editing her own romance novel during office hours. Frazzled, Savannah hides the manuscript in the secret room she discovered at the office… and is shocked when someone makes notes on the pages. As Savannah and the mysterious editor continue exchanging notes about the book, they form a friendship that starts to feel like more.

I love the concept of the secret room and exchanging of notes with an unknown editor, so I was really excited to dive into this. And those parts of the book were fun. There was just so much other stuff that got in the way. I don’t know that I’d call this full-on women’s fiction, but the romance is so slow moving and underdeveloped that it’s certainly not the star. It’s single perspective, and Savannah doesn’t confirm her editor’s identity until the final act, but… c’mon. It’s obvious. There’s a lot more that could’ve been done with that. Instead, we get an uncomfortable subplot involving Savannah’s fitness-obsessed sister (who she probably shouldn’t be speaking to) and the ex (she still seems to lust after) who is now her future brother-in-law. I didn’t want any of that, it just made Savannah seem like a doormat, and the time would’ve been better spent on developing the love connection either in person or via the notes. Ultimately, this wasn’t “bad,” but when my criticisms of a book overshadow the story WHILE I’m reading it, then I know it wasn’t successful either. I appreciated receiving an early copy (and am voluntarily leaving a review), but this was more of a miss than a hit for me.
Profile Image for Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill.
574 reviews618 followers
March 27, 2022
Loved it!!! ❤️ Cuteness alert! I have been having major FOMO over this book! So I was beyond excited to receive a copy!

The main character is an editor
She is writing a book
She is involved in a secret work romance...and she doesn't even know who it is!
There is an ARC room...repeat...there is an ARC room!

Sooo the book revolves around books...books...books...WINNING! How could I not love this?!

I adored our main character Savannah. As she struggles to deal with her fulltime job...meeting a deadline for her new book...dealing with a breakup of her longtime boyfriend...who she sees everyday...because he is engaged to her sister...whatttt?

Okay but the very best part for me was the adorable part of Savannah's secret editor..it made me sigh...ahh so sweet! He would leave her notes in her manuscript..helping her make her dreams come true...but who was it? I know who I was hoping for. He stole my heart too!

Did you know there was such a thing as an ARC room? The author confirmed...she has indeed seen one! This was so much fun! Thank you BookSparks for my gifted copy! I loved it!
Profile Image for paige.
638 reviews734 followers
August 22, 2022
"Waiting impatiently for something that will inevitably happen either way is a waste of time. Enjoy the journey, not just the destination."


What an absolutely adorable read for a rainy Monday. I loved it. Sometimes young adult romances are exactly what you need to chase the Monday's away.

I picked this up at the recommendation of a friend who could not say enough good things and am so glad I liked it as much as she did. The premise was adorable, but actually getting into the story and seeing it play out was more so. I love that the book Savannah was writing seemed to reflect what she was going through in each point of the story. I loved that about half way through she not only recognized that, but searched her own words to see what she might need to do next.

There was the sweetest miscommunication in the world that will make you laugh out loud. There was sister drama and tangents that will make you giggle the whole time. And the sweetest romance fit in between the pages. I couldn't get enough of watching Savannah fall for Will in two different places without knowing it.

Grumpy/sunshine, but grumpy isn't really all that grumpy as long as sunshine is around.

Honestly, what an adorable book.

- Paige
Profile Image for abigail ❥ ~semi-hiatus~.
256 reviews610 followers
September 26, 2022
5 Stars <3
Thank you, Thomas Nelson Fiction for this arc in exchange for an honest review!

Savannah Cade works for Pennington Publishing, a publishing house for the most prestigious and deemed worthy books (aka nothing fun), as a low-level editor. However, she has a couple of secrets—she's writing a romance novel and has come across a hidden-away nook in the publishing company's ARC room. After leaving her splayed paged manuscript behind one afternoon, she comes back to find that someone has too discovered this nook, organized her manuscript, and written edits in the margins. Who is this mystery person? Her new boss? An old date that didn't work out? Either the case, she asks this mystery editor for help in refining her pages in hopes that Baird books will take it on. The two start exchanging notes back and forth regarding the manuscript but ultimately turn the page into more personal topics to which Savannah can't help but start falling for her mystery editor.

I deeply enjoyed this book. I couldn't stop reading it for a second. When people say that you can't fall in love over words—don't believe them. Just as Savannah fell for her mystery editor, I did too.

This isn't a revolutionary story. It gives what you ask for. A cute, quirky, funny, all-consuming love story that you can't help but warm-up for. As it may be predictable, it's what I wanted from this. It's a simple pleasure read for those hopeless romantics such as myself. But it isn't an insta-love—there is build-up and tension, making the ending all the more magical.

If you are looking for a read to bubble up your heart, I'd say this is a perfect match.
Profile Image for Sabi.
936 reviews206 followers
February 21, 2022
So, I'm dissapointed... I loved the blurb, the cover, the idea. But, the actual novel? A let down.

Things I liked:

The idea: The female lead is a writer and the male lead is a editor/publisher. Of course, any booklover will love it!

⭐ The 'margin' scenes between the leads. They were nearly not enough but they were the best scenes in the book.

Things I wasn't impressed with:

🔵 The parts when the heroine thinks that

🔵 Where was the romance? If you like clean romance, you'll be okay with it. But even, their (I read somewhere it was by a Christian publisher, I guess? But, I'm just warning people who like to read some spice and that it is not in this book.)

🔵 The lead and her chemistry with Will: She's not bad per say. But, she's just not that interesting. And just as well, with the couple's scenes. They didn't had much exciting conversations, tbh.
Profile Image for Claude's Bookzone.
1,535 reviews215 followers
June 6, 2022
You know those times when you are looking for a book where you just want to read the words on the page and smile, and not think too much about whether the writing is good, or whether there is much character development, or wonder whether the plot is at all realistic? Then this book may be a good candidate for your next lazy weekend mindless romantic read. Be warned though, you will need to like cheese (a soft oozy type like camembert - like a whole round of it) and romance novel tropes (nothing wrong with a trope but there are quite a few crammed in here), and predictability on a level where you could read the first two chapters then write your prediction on a piece of paper, fold it up and pop away to check after finishing the novel, and then bask in the glory that you were right on the money. I still really enjoyed this Hallmark card of a novel. It was a case of the right book at the right time and I am sure you will all know what I am talking about. I wanted a safe and cosy romance and it one hundred percent delivered!
Profile Image for Helen Power.
Author 10 books544 followers
February 13, 2022
This novel is a delightfully pithy and cute slow-burn romance.
Savannah Cade works as an assistant editor for a stodgy publishing house that only produces the finest literary works and non-fiction. Her boss’s son has come to help out at the publishing house, because they’re losing money and cutting employees left and right, and Savannah is worried that her job might be at stake. Meanwhile, Savannah is secretly writing a romance novel–one that would make her own publishing house embarrassed to be associated with–which she has an editor at another publishing house interested in. When she leaves her manuscript in a secret room in the publishing house and returns to retrieve it, she finds notes in the margins–harsh critiques of her story that would require a massive rewrite. Furious, she ignores them, but when she sends the book to her editor, she rejects it, making some of the same criticisms. Desperate for help to achieve her dream, Savannah makes a written plea to her mystery editor, who agrees to help her out and to continue to provide her invaluable feedback. What Savannah doesn’t expect is to start developing feelings for this mystery man as they continue to write notes to each other. But which of her coworkers could he be?
Savannah Cade is the definition of a relatable protagonist. There’s nothing remarkable about her. She’s adequate at her job, she has hopes and dreams, and she’s a bit of a doormat where her family is concerned. Her ex-boyfriend, who she dated for eight years, is now engaged to her sister, and she’s living with the two of them. Her sister is obsessed with fitness, and she has Savannah participating in a step challenge. (Who doesn’t have a relative who’s fixated on getting their daily steps in?)
There’s quite a bit of this book that resonated with me personally. I’m a book reviewer, a librarian, and an author, and references to advanced reader copies and scenes set at the librarian conference (which I think was a wink to ALA), gave me the warm and fuzzies. I was reading an arc of a book talking about advanced reader copies in an authentic way, and it all felt very meta, which turns my brain into a pretzel, so I’m going to move on to the rest of my review.
The book doesn’t start off strong, and I did have a hard time getting past those first few chapters, but I’m glad that I did! By the twenty percent mark, I was hooked and I fell in love with the story and the author’s sweet writing style. It’s ironic that a book in which the protagonist is having her romance novel critiqued, with the mystery editor telling her that she started at the wrong place and her beginning is weak, had a weak beginning itself.
This book is a sweet, slower-than-molasses burn romance. It’s clean with no profanity or violence, and I realized after starting the book that this is a Christian publisher, but aside from the fact that it’s a clean read, I wouldn’t have been able to tell that.
The book has some important themes and messages that make this verge into the realm of women’s fiction, not just romance. The novel serves as an important reminder presented in a fun way: Don’t lose track of what truly matters in life, what you really want, and what really makes you happy, and focus on your dreams!

*Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for the ebook to review*
This review appeared first on https://powerlibrarian.wordpress.com/
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My 2022 Reading Challenge
POPSUGAR Reading Challenge 2022: This book fulfills the "A favorite prompt from a past year: Alliterative title" category.
Profile Image for Alisha.
1,043 reviews70 followers
November 3, 2021
This novel is easily my favorite discovery of the year. Warm, witty, and wistful, its two central characters took up residence in my heart and I'll never forget them. Really.

Savannah is an assistant editor at a small publishing house in Nashville--one with high standards but decreasing profitability. When the boss's son Will Pennington shows up, fresh from his prestigious New York City job and ready to prop up the dying family business, everyone is sure that he's not there to play nice. Savannah can't afford any missteps... so it's a good thing that no one knows that she's been writing her own novel. Her own romantic fiction novel, that is. Because the one thing that the publishing house would never, never, never sully its reputation with is light romantic fiction.
After her manuscript is almost exposed during an office meeting, Savannah stashes it in the most secret place she knows in the building. Her very own magical, private, bookish refuge.
So how does it come about that when she goes to retrieve it, she discovers in one heart-stopping moment that it's covered with notes from a mystery editor?

There are so many delightful moments, conversations, and exchanges in this book that it's hard to know where to start with all the things I liked.

I liked that even though there is never any question about what is going to happen in the last chapter, the story doesn't feel hackneyed. It's genuine. It has heart.
(Although, I will say, the attempt to muddy the waters and provide a possible alternative for who else could be Savannah's mystery editor fell pretty flat for me, but I'll grant that it's probably a necessary facet in this kind of "You've Got Mail" story.)

I liked that the author gave Will and Savannah a *little* edge of friction and wariness in their in-person interactions... but I'm so grateful she didn't make them enemies. Just enough tension to make things zing delightfully when they're around each other. There's also never any game-playing between them, just a refreshing innocence and give-and-take in conversation that absolutely won my heart.

I liked that even though I started the book thinking, "Oh, no, this is written in the present tense," by the end I was thinking, "You know, this present tense thing is okay."

I liked that there's a mature, thoughtful approach toward what makes a good relationship, and that it was dreamy and grounded at the same time.

The takeaway? I will be buying this book when it comes out. And I will be re-reading it. I don't know if other readers will be affected the same way I was, but when I estimated it would probably take me until 2 in the morning to finish it, I thought, "Well, that's unfortunate, but it can't be helped." It filled me with a personal angst (you know, the kind that comes from reading about a story or relationship that you want to be in) and sense of introspection that I haven't recovered from yet. This book. This book.

Initial review:
It's an indecent hour of the night and I'm done. And dead. 5 stars.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Profile Image for Lucy.
455 reviews87 followers
May 1, 2022
I was hooked by the premise of the story, especially since it was advertised as a rom-com. As it turns out, though, I didn't like it as as much as I'd expected. Why? I didn't care much for Savannah's character (low confidence/self-deprecating trope), and felt the humor was lacking so it wasn't quite a rom-com.
Profile Image for el.
253 reviews1,533 followers
April 13, 2022
romance writers once again proving that they have absolutely no idea what literary fiction is (+ have ostensibly never read outside of their genre of choice)
May 28, 2022
STOP! This book was sooooo cute!!! I FLEW through the pages, soaking up every little bit of publishing/bookish magic that was presented!

The premise. Be still my heart! I loved the secret ARC room meetings and the little notes. It made my romance loving heart giddy!

Will was…GAAAAREAT!! Loved. Him. I loved seeing him in the professional setting, but also in a more laid back setting.

Savannah grew on me! I 100% connected with her love of story, and I appreciated her self growth TREMENDOUSLY! I loved that she was a “normal” girl, and learned that she was worth it.

There were some moments that were a bit…cliché. But it’s a rrrooommmmaaannnnccceeee novel so I took it all in stride. KNOWING our characters would find their way to each other & get their happily ever after!

4/5 star
Profile Image for Syndi.
2,994 reviews690 followers
March 23, 2022
Savannah reminds me of that heroine in Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophia Kinsella. She simply can not keep her mouth shut or act sensible. I like her. She reminds me of me who sat quite in the corner but have no filter in the brain.
At the beginning of Meet Me in the Margins, I am skeptical. And I liking this book very much.
Yes the story is not original, but Miss Ferguson makes it work with a little twist on the hero, William.

The length of this book is sufficient to make the story works. Not too short nor too long. I also like the comedy. I like Savannah and William together. Their chemistry is sweet and fun. The hunt for who is the editor is also funny.

Overall a good book.

4 stars
Profile Image for Chautona Havig.
Author 264 books1,621 followers
May 10, 2022
Seriously... one of the hardest reviews I think I'll ever write. Here's my best attempt.

I didn't know what to expect of this book, but come on. Books? Publishing? Editing? Margins??? Yes, please!
Those first few paragraphs when I prayed we were looking at some prologue-type disconnect from the rest of the story until I realized, no... this really is first-person/present tense... agonizing. It's just not my favorite. Had it not been present, I would actually have cheered once this got going because Savannah's voice? Perfect.
Ferguson created such a fun, unique, layered character. And yet... she's just like so many people I know. The sarcasm, the way she blurts out what she probably shouldn't say and doesn't say what she knows she should. The way she sticks up for friends but not for herself. It's all so beautifully familiar.
We relate to Savannah, because deep down we all have an Olivia in our lives. We all have that secret dream we may or may not have shared only with the people we trust most. And we all have something that stings a little when its criticized. For some it might be their parenting. Others may wince when critiqued for saying "sorry" too much or for not respoinding to things the way "they" think we should. Our degree isn't good enough or our church choice is too "shallow" or "stuffy."
We love Savannah because she's so refreshingly REAL about how she responds to all life (and self) throws at her.
As an author, I particularly loved the part where she's trying to develop a platform so publishers will take a look at her work. Seriously, folks. That isn't a joke!
As for the other characters, Ferguson totally nailed a bunch of individual personalities. Because of how unique each one is, we don't forget who is who (although Miss Nasty Pants' name is escaping me). I didn't even have trouble and I was listening on audio!
Interjecting kudos to the narrator. She nailed Savannah. Totally nailed her. And I didn't even get squirmy vibes when she did male voices!
Not only that, but this is a ROMANCE. And even in this romance, Melissa Ferguson wrote so well, that I really wasn't confident she'd end up with who I thought she should. I doubted if I was right? AND... There's one character... I was ticked off about him from page one (nearly) and OH MY GRAVY she did it! She took him to where he really needed to go and showed his actions for what they truly are. YES! *pumps fist*. Odd. Now that I read that sentence, that actually applies to THREE guys in the book. Weird. And amazingly cool.
So, all that to say, I have one quibble with the book. While it is #38 in Christian Contemporary Romance on some retailers right now, this isn't a "Christian" book. It may be published by a "Christian" Publisher, but faith is completely left out of the picture. Because I've seen this trend from this publisher for a long time now, I went into it knowing there would likely be zero faith elements (and things some CF readers would find objectionable). IF this were marketed as (and it's not... just giving credit) Christian Fiction, I'd still give it four stars for having subtle themes consistent with a Christian worldview and because it's an amazing story. I'd LOVE to see what this author would do if she wove faith into her books. I'd also love to know if any of her other books do.
Profile Image for Wendy W..
518 reviews130 followers
January 10, 2022
Four and a Half Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭒
Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson is a fun book about books! This adorable romance has sympathetic characters and a fascinating look at a small book publisher all set in Nashville, Tennessee. This book has a You’ve Got Mail vibe and I just loved it!

Savannah Cade works for Pennington Publishing as an editorial assistant. Pennington Publishing is a small independent publishing house in Nashville and caters to high-brow literary books. Savannah has secretly been writing a romance novel, a genre that Pennington would never publish, as it’s considered commercial fiction.

Savannah finds a little nook, hidden away in the ARC (Advance Reader Copy) room of her building. After discovering the nook, she accidentally leaves her romance novel manuscript in the nook. When she finally gets a chance to go into the nook, she finds her manuscript with a lot of notes, handwritten in the margins. Her first response is to be angry, but after a while, she realizes that her mystery editor is right, and she starts to use his input to make her manuscript better. She knows her mystery editor is a man and using the process of elimination, she works to figure out who he might be.

Wow, this was a fun story. I love this trope where they fall in love over the writing and are also falling in love in person. These characters are so easy to care about and I was rooting for them both from the very beginning of the book. I thought the writing was excellent and I enjoyed learning about the inside workings of a small publisher. The book was fast-paced and I just flew through the pages.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a great romance. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Profile Image for Brittany McCann.
1,836 reviews428 followers
March 15, 2023
This was lighthearted most of the time and made me laugh out loud more than once.

If you have been on any side of the publishing industry, editing, or writing anything, then you will find special passages to endear you to this book.

Savannah is a big dork with low self-confidence, which was both endearing but slightly annoying sometimes in her naivety. She did act a lot younger than seemed appropriate for her age.

Overall, it was cheesy but funny. A great rom-com and a quick read.

My two favorite passages
The word falls like a massive blow-Enough.
She'd Read Enough.
I feel sick to my stomach.
This author side of things is awful.
I've never been on the receiving side of manuscript rejection before. It's dreadful.
Nobody should write.

Arguing about Ronaldo sounding like a serial killer instead of the perfect meet-cute at a cafe
I read halfway down the page: "I've been looking for someone. Someone exactly like you. Come to my car, I want to show you something."
And all I can think is: Ceclia, get out of there!

Solid 4 Stars.
Profile Image for Jena.
595 reviews105 followers
February 12, 2022
I absolutely loved the premise of Meet Me in the Margins and I really enjoyed the author's writing style, my main problem was just the pacing. I found that it took quite a while for the premise to start to play out, however, once it did I really enjoyed this. The plot and characters were enjoyable and I really liked the setting (the main character works in publishing). This is a book that talks about books and publishing, but it never felt like pandering. My only other complaints were that the love interest was a bit unnecessarily rude at the start of the book, and I wish the main characters spent a bit more time together, but these are small issues and really didn't take away from my enjoyment of this book. I can't explain what it is, but this story and writing style really drew me in and I'm really glad I picked up this book.
Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson--FICTION for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Melissa (Mel’s Bookshelf).
473 reviews287 followers
May 2, 2022
I think this was an Audible deal of the day, I can't quite remember. But I saw it and I read the premise and thought how nice it would be to lose myself in a cute romance for a while.

Savannah is an editor for a publishing company. Her company is very picky about what it publishes - Intelligent books, non-fiction with big words but not much soul. Very snobbish. She dreams of sending off her romance manuscript to one of the big publishing companies. When she has to quickly hide her manuscript from her boss, she discovers a hidden room and leaves it in there. When she returns, she discovers someone has critiqued it. Quite harshly. Then starts a back and forth between them in the margins of her manuscript. Soon she starts developing feelings for her mystery-editor. But who is he?

This book was just what the doctor ordered. I have been up to my neck in high complex fantasy and sci-fi and just needed some wholesome no-brainer romance. And I don't mean that in a harsh way.

I enjoyed the narration on this one. She was perfect! The characters were cute, the premise was sweet and clever. I loved the back story of Savannah and her previous boyfriend who is now her sisters fiancé... and I enjoyed the banter between her and her boss. It had some funny and sweet moments and was quite intelligent at times.

It didn't absolutely take my breath away with the romance, but it didn't need to. It was charming, funny and totally predictable in the best possible way. Exactly what I needed at this moment!
Profile Image for Anita.
2,167 reviews159 followers
May 22, 2022
I enjoy a sweet, clean love story and this one is just great. For sure I'm going to need to stop saying that I don't read Contemporary Romance and that I don't like the single POV in those books. I also loved the basic story line and its' look at the publishing world that is the background for the story.

Savannah Cade comes from a family of very high achieving women. She would love to uphold that tradition and her younger sister has, but just hasn't found the way there just yet. She fell in love with books in college and is now a junior editor at a highbrow, very intellectual leaning, prestigious publishing company, Pennington Publishing. Unfortunately, that just isn't selling many books these days. She loves her job, but it just isn't feeding her soul. The soul that reads sweet, warm romance. She has been writing a book since college and a chance meeting with an editor from a very successful publisher is intrigued by her book concept and wants to see her manuscript.

Now all she needs to do it polish it up and send it off and she'll be a published author, right? She finds out that it is a lot harder than it seems. She has found a hidden room in the old mansion that is Pennington Publishing's home in Nashville. Savannah mistakenly leaves her manuscript there one night only to discover the next day that a Mystery Editor has made rather scathing notes in the margins. When she comes down after her blow, Savannah discovers her Mystery Editor is right and they begin to rework both her manuscript and her life.

My thanks to Thomas Nelson, Publisher, and Melissa Ferguson, author, for providing a complimentary digital Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this novel via NetGalley. This is my fair, honest and personal review. All opinions are mine alone and were not biased in any way.
Profile Image for Kristina Hall.
Author 17 books281 followers
July 18, 2022
Characters: Savannah was a sympathetic main character who had a great personality. And I loved the fact that she was an author. I'm also an author, so I found it easy to connect with her. I have to say I wasn't a fan of the love interest, William. Not only was he Savannah's boss but he also found her manuscript and began ruthlessly editing it without her permission. He just came across as really critical and overly controlling to me.

Language: Clean.

Moral/theme: This novel included themes of love (the easy one ... it's a romance), dedication, and family. Although Meet Me in the Margins was published by Thomas Nelson, I'd classify it as clean fiction instead of Christian fiction.

Plot: Poor Savannah's life had plenty of drama that moved the plot right along :)

Romance: Clean. Just kissing.

Writing: Melissa Ferguson's writing style flowed well, and I loved the character voice she gave Savannah.

Overall: Meet Me in the Margins was an entertaining read that I'd recommend to those who enjoy clean romantic comedies.
Profile Image for Maria Yankulova.
738 reviews276 followers
April 2, 2023
Упорито продължавам да чета книги за книги, издателства, книжарници и библиотеки, при положение, че 90% ме разочароват. Но пък има едни 10%, които са рядкост, но са вълшебство.

“Среща между редовете” не беше толкова лоша, но проблемът е, че ми беше скучно. Авторката е започнала много теми, но нито една не е задълбочила - линията с издателството беше основна и имаше някои приятни моменти, но беше недоразвита за мен. Романтичната линия - какво да кажа… Може ли да се целунат едва ли не на финала… Вярно е, че не може да ми се угоди. Ако е твърде рано е нереалистично, сега е твърде късно 🤣 предозирана ми беше семейната драма на главната героиня.

Като цяло ако не я бях прочела нищо нямаше да изгубя.
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